Will New York City remove statue of Christopher Columbus?
NEW YORK (FOX5NY) - Monuments linked to the Confederacy aren't the only ones being called into question.
Christopher Columbus has become a polarizing figure in history. So now the statue of the Italian explorer in Columbus Circle might just be on the chopping block.
Columbus discovered America but he was also a ruthless explorer who enslaved and murdered native Americans.
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito supports Mayor Bill de Blasio's new task force, or commission, that will make recommendations on what statues and monuments in the city should be removed. She said the task force should take a look at the Columbus statue, which was dedicated in 1892.
De Blasio said the city's commission will look at statues and monuments that may suggest hate, division, racism, anti-Semitism, or have any message that might be against the values of New York City. The task force will conduct a 90-day review and then make recommendations to the mayor as to which statues and monuments should go.
Dr. Libby O'Connell has a Ph.D. in American history and is the chief historian emeritus at the History Channel. She said the Columbus statue should not be taken down. She said Columbus is a complicated historical figure. She said that although he was a ruthless explorer, as many were during his era, he changed the world in a positive way.
"He's not a saint but he's not all bad either," O'Connell said, "because he helped bring about the European discovery of North and South America."
The mayor said he will announce the members of the task force in the near future and then their work will begin.